Memo to the president's foes: It helps sometimes to have a president you hate. Think of the bad choices he can save you from, including those you urge on him. Consider the present guttural outcry -- HOW DARE THIS CHILD-HATER VETO THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE BILL?
How dare he? On account of due appreciation for the need to squash the kind of foolishness that eventually turns and bites proponents as well as adversaries. That's the State Children's Health Insurance bill to a tee.
What fun in the short run to bash George Bush for nixing a bill that extends government-paid health insurance to middle-class families earning as much as $62,000! Here is Families USA on the matter: "Bush vs. Kids." Here's another such bon mot: "President Bush to Children: No Health Care for You."
Which is intellectual pollution of a variety suitable for removal and preservation behind glass. The president was ready to sign onto, and sign, legislation directed toward renewing subsidization of uninsured poor children. He never got the chance. With terrified Senate Republicans joining the stampede, Congress decided, why not open up this health insurance thing and get a little credit at the polls next year? By bringing middle-class families into the program, the majority of them with private insurance, members of both parties see themselves reaping substantial gratitude.
Well, naturally. Don't you want something free, or perceived as such? It's a modern habit -- one in which politicians devoutly believe -- to say, sure, bring it on.
This consideration inspires Bushophobes to see the debate over Bush's veto of the legislation, and the override vote set for this week in the House, as succulent fare. How can the government-expanders lose? If the override vote fails, it's Bush's fault. Did we mention all Republicans hate kids? If, on the other hand, House and Senate override and the bill becomes law, the gratitude of a newly entitled constituency becomes large and real and warm. Can you beat it?
Not in the short run, maybe. Political tacticians who see "kid-hating" as a grand, glorious catchphrase are unlikely to be moved by considerations of intellectual seriousness. They are likelier to rejoice that the road to universal national health care seems more open than it has in years -- maybe more open than ever before.